San Juan Journal Letters to the Editor | Aug. 6

Supports Pratt for San Juan South
Some new Burma Shave-style signs appeared on roadsides last week with the message, “If you don’t want your taxes to go from 10% to Forty, vote for Gordy.”

The County Council has no control over property taxes or state sales taxes, which make up the vast bulk of the taxes we pay; in addition, voter-passed state initiatives have placed severe limits on tax increases. The council controls only very minor additional fees.

To imply that some council candidates might be able to impose (even if they were inclined to) steep tax increases if elected is silly. This is just scare tactics.

I’d like to hope that voters will choose a candidate based on who is qualified and shares their values, not on whoever achieves maximum name-recognition with roadside signs. I suggest that voters read the candidates’ responses to questions in The Journal and let those guide their choice, and ignore signs that are a visual blight or that insult our intelligence.

I am voting for Lovel Pratt: a thoughtful, intelligent, and dedicated public servant with a proven record of service to our community.

Megan Dethier
Friday Harbor

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Recently, I bumped into Lovel Pratt at the Coast Salish nations’ Canoe Journey, which was kindly hosted for this island by Roche Harbor Resort.

When I challenged (more like, chastised) Lovel for her lack of yard signage, she patiently and kindly (two of her considerable attributes) pointed me toward her Web page (, which states as follows:

“I am a candidate for County Council because I value the beauty of our islands and want to support and enhance our natural environment. I did not purchase campaign yard signs, in part because they are not a priority in my campaign budget, but more importantly, I do not want to clutter up the roadsides with repetitive signs that can become a visual blight.”

Way to go Lovel; some independent thinking and a fresh approach!

I admire Lovel because of her long-standing support for the public schools, her considerable efforts on behalf of local agriculture and her on-going commitment to maintain a strong sense of community on this island of ours, which is in the midst of such significant demographic changes.

I have sat through many meetings and gatherings with her, and am impressed with her ability to listen, synthesize and move forward with consensus to action. The fact that the San Juan County Democrats have voted to endorse her (and Randy Gaylord for judge) are also points of interest to me.

I may disagree with your campaign strategy, Lovel, but I do support you as the right person to fill the seat vacated by Kevin Ranker. I do hope the good folks of San Juan South aren’t duped by all the pretty dog ads and overabundance of other signage put up by your opponents, and take the time to read about you, meet with you and listen to your intelligent views on governance and the considerable issues we face.

Good luck in your race for this important council seat.
Steve Porten
San Juan Island

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When we think of the things that are important to us as members of our island community, it all comes back to children.

We need to maintain a community where our children can thrive. This means we need to maintain great schools. We need to build affordable housing to keep working families here. We need to support our farmers by preserving our island agriculture and we need to safeguard our incredible marine environment for future generations. We need consistent leadership from our County Council and administrators to stay on top of all the challenges that threaten our unique island culture.

Lovel Pratt is the candidate who has the background and experience needed to meet these challenges. Her experience with schools, affordable housing, local agriculture and her work on the county Planning Commission will ensure that our kids have the island community we cherish.

Please vote for Lovel Pratt by Aug. 19.
Becky and Peter Kilpatrick
San Juan Island

Interpretation was a scare tactic
I am responding to Gordy Peterson’s editorial comments that misquoted my answer on affordable housing published in The Journal of the San Juan Islands, July 23.

What I wrote in The Journal was that if elected I would “encourage the establishment of a local Housing Trust Fund to provide grants or subsidy support” for affordable housing, and I then went on to give examples of how a Housing Trust Fund could be funded.

I find Gordy’s use of misquotes and tax-increase scare tactics to be an insult to the well-informed voters of District 1 and San Juan County.

One of my primary campaign platforms is the importance of public participation. I intend to encourage public participation and I will listen to and consider everyone’s concerns and goals on all issues, including affordable housing. I will work toward solutions to the affordable housing needs of our community, and I will encourage citizens and the County Council to look at all the options that exist — including taxes that could fund a Housing Trust Fund — and then identify and implement those solutions that will work best for our community.

I agree with Gordy that a smart voter needs to be informed!
Lovel Pratt
Candidate for County Council, District 1

Ranker’s not his choice for Senate
I wish I could agree with Tom Cowan’s view, expressed in his letter last week, that electing a fellow islander to the state Senate would be a good thing.

Unfortunately, the candidate in question, County Councilman Kevin Ranker, has shown himself to be someone who can’t be trusted to represent our most important interests in Olympia.

More than 2,000 islanders might recall signing petitions about two years ago demanding that the state hold fare increases to no more than 2.5 percent, the amount recommended by the governor and the Legislature. Despite that, Ranker convinced the council to support increases of up to 4 percent, the amount proposed by the state Transportation Commission. Fortunately, the voices of islanders and other ferry users prevailed, giving us our first slight relief in years.

About the same time, the Legislature quietly took between $1 million and $2 million in gas taxes paid in the county — money that by law otherwise was earmarked to support roads in the county and the Town of Friday Harbor — and instead gave it to the ferry system. The Ferry Advisory Committee protested that decision to the governor, asking her to undo it, and recommended to the then-commissioners, Ranker included, to do likewise. They didn’t.

More recently, the Ferry Advisory Committee recommended WSF at least consider temporarily eliminating the international run, which during that time would typically carry about 30 cars each way, until it could find a solution to a significant cut in domestic capacity. Ranker’s response was to look out first for his own political interests in Anacortes, not those of fellow islanders, and he led the effort to have the council publicly oppose the Ferry Advisory Committee’s request.

As chair of the county’s Ferry Advisory Committee for nearly four years (until Ranker led the move to have me kicked off the committee), I was in an unusual position to measure our local elected officials words against their deeds, especially as they related to ferry issues. None was nearly as slippery or untrustworthy as Ranker.

As much as I’d like a state senator from the islands, I won’t vote for someone I can’t trust.
Alex MacLeod
Shaw Island

Supports Gaylord for Superior Court
I would like to formally convey my support for Randall K. Gaylord for.

When we, in the state Legislature, created the new Superior Court position for San Juan County, it was my hope a person with the experience and even hand of Randy Gaylord would step forward for the position. He is a good friend that I have always found to be trustworthy, intelligent and fair minded.

The breadth of legal and civic experience he would bring to the position is truly impressive. Beyond that, I know that his dedication to the community and profession would greatly serve the residents of the San Juan Islands.
Jeff Morris
Speaker pro tem
House of Representatives

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I support Randy Gaylord for judge. Randy is smart, fair-minded and patient. He is always respectful, even toward his adversaries in litigation, which is where a lawyer’s true colors come through.

As counsel for virtually all of county government, Randy has dealt with difficult issues and difficult situations calling for clear thinking and the ability to discern what is really at stake. It is this experience that makes him an excellent choice for judge.

Please join me in voting for Randy.
Denice Kulseth
Friday Harbor

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In this non-partisan race for Superior Court judge, the politics appear to be very apparent and traditional. Take a look!

Before our county’s new Superior Court will come land use issues, property rights, child custody and a host of decisions impacting our islands’ way of life — our way of living.

Think about who you want on that bench to weigh the law and the information and then to make these impactful decisions.

Randy Gaylord has an undergraduate degree in environmental studies. Over the years working as our prosecutor as well as being an island citizen, Randy has displayed island stewardship as well as an awareness of the needs of the less powerful among us.

Many folks are grateful to Randy for such actions as banning Jet Skis from our waters. Others are less so for his actions, made according to the law, that have thwarted personal objectives. It’s called ethics and integrity.

Randy is a student of the laws of our land. He is also fair, compassionate and the clear choice for Superior Court judge.

Coleen O’Brien

Supports Linde for Superior Court
I’ve known Judge John Linde since he and his wife Carol first moved here. I was a teen-ager at the time.

He was a young attorney who went to work with one of my dad’s best friends, Charlie Schmidt. When Charlie died, John became our family’s business and personal attorney. Later, he became my attorney, and then that of my immediate family and our business.

I’ve worked with Judge Linde many times over the years and each time he has proven to be a selfless man of the highest integrity. He is knowledgeable, experienced, fair and wise. He is also a family man and community minded, for instance, serving in the difficult position of being a Little League umpire for a number of years.

I wholeheartedly endorse Judge John Linde for continuing his position as the Superior Court judge for San Juan County.
Steve Buck, co-owner
Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, Inc.

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Who is most qualified for Superior Court judge? For me, this is an absolute “no brainer.”

Judge John Linde already has 35 years experience as a practicing lawyer which includes 21 years as a District Court judge. He was appointed by the governor as our first Superior Court judge and the governor is honorary chairwoman of Judge Linde’s campaign committee (that alone should tell you something).

The governor’s general counsel endorses Judge Linde and, in addition to this — which should by itself be all you need to know to vote for John — more than 30 Western Washington Superior Court judges have endorsed him, as have two clerks of our courts. These clerks are on the front line and in the trenches every day and are the people that really know what is going on.

Randy Gaylord has been a reasonably competent prosecuting attorney for San Juan County. He has a sharp legal mind but has made, in my opinion, a few glaring mistakes of judgment lately. Most recently, Randy advised the County Council to bring a lawsuit against the individual that filed the first referendum allowed under our new county charter. This lawsuit was eventually dropped by the council, but cost this citizen thousands of dollars and sends an onerous message to the rest of us if we should think about using Initiative and referendum in the future. Randy made a mistake.

The Gas Tax Initiative suit that San Juan County was a party to and we lost was another big mistake. The amount of money that this cost the taxpayers is still unknown.

To Randy’s credit, he successfully beat the jet ski industry in getting jet skis banned in San Juan County waters.

The bottom line is, which candidate is most qualified? It is still a “no brainer.” Vote to retain Judge John O. Linde. My wife and I are.
Ray Bigler
Julie Palmer
San Juan Island

Don’t let housing project slip away
Many members of our community are most likely aware of the proposed development of the “Buck property” adjoining town near the elementary school — a development that will over the next 10-20 years provide many units of much-needed affordable housing on the island.

What many people perhaps don’t know is that the sale of this land to the San Juan Community Home Trust — and its development as a mixed-income neighborhood — is actually contingent upon this land, which is located just outside the town limits, being annexed so that it becomes part of the town.

The process of annexation has begun, but the process (so far!) has been extremely arduous and time-consuming. In the meantime, the Home Trust is sitting on $1.5 million in committed state grants and loans to support the building of affordable homes on the property, and this money must be used by the end of this year or it will go away!

The Town of Friday Harbor simply cannot, must not, let this golden opportunity slip away! We have a wonderful, practical piece of land that is near town and near the elementary school. We have a fully functional and well-respected organization, the San Juan Community Home Trust, which has worked closely with the Buck family to design a neighborhood that will be a model in the use of green building techniques and a community that we can all be proud of.

We have a huge, unmet need for affordable home ownership for the working people in our community, including teachers, emergency response personnel, and a variety of other service providers.

Now is the time for the Town Council and town staff to move quickly and decisively to get this project going. I personally believe that the lack of affordable housing is one of the most critical issues facing our island. If you agree with me, please contact the mayor and members of the Town Council, urging them to step up to the plate soon. Very soon.
Lori Stokes
Friday Harbor

New hospital may be a boondoggle
The current discussion regarding a multi-million dollar hospital proposal for Friday Harbor has one important element missing: the need for a public forum and vote by our taxpayer residents to decide if we really want and need such a costly enterprise. Any other approach disenfranchises the citizens of this community.

Our current medical facilities are adequate and hospital care, when needed, is only minutes away.
Bob Hannah
Friday Harbor

EMT crew ‘heroic,’ ‘wonderful’
We’ve read many a story about the heroics of the EMT crew on San Juan Island, but we never expected to be the recipient — amazingly wonderful, unbelievably competent, reassuring and efficient!

Brad, Dan, Steve, Brian, James, Deanna and Jim arrived quickly and were — are — so special. Thank you. We feel lucky and reassured to live here with such a support system.
Francie and Bruce Hansen
Friday Harbor

A gift for next seven generations
Friends of the San Juans would like to thank everyone who made the 2008 Canoe Journey San Juans stopover a success!

Skippers from 13 Native American canoes asked me to share their appreciation for all the island hospitality our community provided to the 350 participants in the 2008 Canoe Journey stopover on Shaw Island July 23 and at Roche Harbor July 24-25.

Canoes from Lummi Nation, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulalip Tribes, Samish Indian Nation, Nooksack Nation, Suquamish Tribe, and The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde of Oregon traveled ancestral highways to Cowichan, B.C. (near Duncan). Some 109 canoes arrived at Cowichan on July 28.

The journey is a time of healing, hospitality, happiness, hope and honor for all who participate. Our hands are up to everyone who made this event possible:

Roche Harbor Resort and Marina, The Kitchen Garden Network, San Juan County Parks, San Juan Islands Scenic Byways Partnership, Portals of Welcome Committee,

Bison Gallery, Uptown Espresso, U.W. Friday Harbor Labs, Marine Resources Committee, Soroptimists, Washington State Ferries, The Whale Museum,

WSU Beach Watchers, Camp Nor’wester, Northwest Straits Commission, Vinny’s, San Juan Island Canoe and Kayak Club, Ecotrust,

Northwest Straits Commission, Jana Marks, Cyrus Field, Vivien Burnett, Brent Snow, Sam Jacobson, Dona Wuthnow, Kathryn Hansen, Liz Illg,

David Hoopes, Dave Rosenberry, Dove, Max Field, Neal and Kathy Foley, Bill Watson, Janna Gingras, Patricia Davis, Sid Brinkerhoff, Brian Lynch,

Denise Salsbury, Marty Ahart, Becky Volk, Margie Patrick, Denyse Davis, Eileen Drath, Leslie Veirs, Jane Dill, Dana Bune, Jenny Atkinson,

April and Gary Ford, Eric Anderson, Shann Weston, Phil Johnson, Doug McCutchen, Gregg Dietzman, Kim and Debbie Sundberg,

Pam Gross and Charlie Anderson, Lee Brooks, Barbara Marrett, Lovel Pratt, Carolyn Braunigan, Ned and Elaine Griffin, Bill and Marty Holm, Steve and Teri Mason, and many other helping hands!

The journey is a vital and historic event, culturally enriching to all while contributing powerfully to the “Spirit of Place” building communities in a good way.

The spirit of friendship, honor, and goodwill between all nations is a gift we can give the next Seven Generations.
Stephanie Buffum Field
Executive director, Friends of the San Juans

Looking forward to Relay for Life 2009
Well, the tents are gone. The field is back to its preseason growing state. The lights are turned off, and things are back to normal.

But for 19 hours, the football field at Friday Harbor High School was a place of high energy, high hopes, and remembrances.

This was my first time to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. I had no expectations of how the event would go, what was required of me, or how I’d feel when it was done. My team was composed of 15 people who had never really done a Relay event. I didn’t know what I was getting myself (and my teammates) into, but in looking back, I am so proud to have been a part of this.

From 6:30 p.m. on Friday until 11 a.m. on Saturday, hundreds of islanders walked laps to help raise awareness of cancer and the strides being taken to find a cure. There were walkers that were toddlers, walkers who were in wheelchairs and all ages in between. People dressed in costumes. Some walked silently. Others worked out while wearing headphones and listening to iPods. Many groups got their friends together and made the walking event a chance to socialize.

As the evening became night, there might have been fewer people on the track, but they still had high energy. Light-hearted banter seemed to keep people buoyed to do yet another lap. There were so many events during the night to keep you going too, from crazy dress-up contests to a Rocky Bay Cafe donut-eating contest.

So many people came together to make this event a success. On behalf of our team (the Tenacious Track Trekkers), I wanted to say a very public “thank you” to each and every person who stepped up and joined the team and helped us so much:

Brad and Debbi Fincher, Dick and Zita Sandmeyer, Neil and Val Curtis, Jeanne Hyde, Kari Koski, Sharon Lannan, Nan and Steve Simpson, Chris Cassidy, Jerusha Turner, and my wonderful wife, Sharon Boyd.

I also wanted to say “thank you” to our team sponsor, Browne Lumber. Other local businesses who gave so generously included The Whale Museum, The Center For Whale Research, Western Prince Whale & Wildlife Tours, Discovery Seas Kayaking, The Carpet Connection, and Susie’s Mopeds.

Sore muscles, aching feet and weary eyes are slowly returning to normal. And having now walked in my first Relay, I can say it was definitely worth it. Knowing that a short sacrifice of time on my part will go a long way to help others made it all worth while.

This team captain is looking forward to participating in Relay For Life 2009!
John Boyd
Friday Harbor

Expanding trails on San Juan Island
Response to “Trails are a walker’s dream,” page 9A, July 30 Journal.

Thanks to Heather and David Parker of West Vancouver, whose letter last week thanked “whomever is responsible for the wonderful new trails popping up all over San Juan Island.”

The Parkers specifically mention the trails in the area bordered by Roche Harbor Road, Rouleau Road and the Roche Harbor airstrip.

The “whomever” in this case are more than 25 volunteers with the San Juan Island Trails Committee, as well as ownership and management of Roche Harbor Resort. Together, this group has been working over the last year to improve existing trails and create new trails on the resort’s 650-acre property. The focus of the improvements has been on maps and signage, installation of elevated walkways and gravel in wet areas, improved drainage, and more frequent mowing and removal of brush and storm debris.

There are now more than seven miles of public trails in this area, all open to public use year-round. No ATVs or other motorized vehicles are allowed.

Thanks should also go to other organizations for the wealth of hiking trails on our island, including: County Parks (Smallpox Bay), DNR (Mitchell Hill), Land Bank (various properties), National Park Service (English and American Camps), Port of Friday Harbor (Airport Trail), Public Works, and State Parks (Whale Watch Park). Also, the land around Briggs Lake owned by Saltchuk Corp., one of the owners of Roche Harbor Resort, continues to offer trails for public use. Printable maps of these and other trails can be found on our Web site:

The Trails Committee is working to develop additional walking and bicycle trails on our island. To continue to be successful, we will need the collaboration of new volunteers, as well as of additional property owners willing to grant trail easements.

If you would like to become involved in our efforts, please attend one of our monthly meetings at 5-6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the community room at Whidbey Island Bank. Our next meeting is Aug. 13. You can also e-mail us at or call me at 378-1082.
David Dehlendorf
Vice chairman
San Juan Island Trails Committee

Making a difference in lives of animals
On Sunday, July 27, the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor held its fourth annual “Wags to Riches” event at the home of Bob and Lissa McDowell. It was, yet again, our most successful event to date, netting about $50,000 for shelter programs, improvements and operations.

Last year, we established a critical care fund for extraordinary medical expenses for shelter residents that allows us to provide a level of care that equals what they would receive in a home environment. In the past 18 months, we utilized $2,200 for extraordinary care for 12 shelter animals, most of whom have been adopted. During the live auction, we received pledges of almost $7,000 to replenish and supplement that fund.

Our second “Fund a Need” was for repairs and maintenance to the existing roof, which dates from the original construction in 1992. Because of the generosity of the donors, we received more than $11,000 in pledges for this much- needed capital expense.

The entertainment by Wish-n-Wells Canine Agility proved to be very popular with the attendees. They were joined by several local canines who strutted their stuff in typical island fashion. The Kubatana Marimba Band again donated their time and talent to the enjoyment of all.

Next year’s event is already in the planning stages. We will keep you all posted. Check out our Web site,, for updates.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, the shelter staff, the volunteers and especially the animals in our temporary care, I wish to thank everyone who assisted us in making this event a success. The support of businesses and individuals in the form of monetary and product donations and volunteer hours toward the production of this event helps us immeasurably in continuing to make a difference in the lives of our four-legged friends and companions. We could not do it without them.

Thank you for caring!
Chris Sly-Prochnow
Animal Protection Society Friday Harbor Board of Directors